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February 16th, 2009 | EarthBound, Rumors

reid posted a big ol’ thing about what the deal with EarthBound on the Virtual Console is, and why it hasn’t come out yet and why it probably won’t come out. Read his quick message here and the full thing here:

The Sad Story of EarthBound on the Virtual Console

UPDATE: since it seems like a lot of people aren’t understanding the whole story, I’ve written a huge follow-up post to try to clarify things.


Other Related Posts:


86 Comments to The Deal with EB on Virtual Console

JB2448 said on Feb. 16, 2009

This doesn’t seem surprising, yet I can’t shake the funny feeling that this just doesn’t add up. It’s not that I don’t believe it all, but why would NoA Legal let this game out 14 years ago and suddenly want to remove pop culture from it. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Feb. 16, 2009

Reading that made me sad. 🙁

JB2448 said on Feb. 16, 2009

Replace some of those periods with question marks. I make that error sometimes.

Mato said on Feb. 16, 2009

Because things are different, companies love to be lawsuit vampires, sucking the blood of successful businesses, and because the Internet now allows easy access to this kind of information.

Spyden said on Feb. 16, 2009

While this is depressing, at least I can leave the thought of EB coming to VC in the back of my mind now.

It is a shame, but this game will always be remembered.

At least Nintendo still cares enough about the Mother series to leave Ness and Lucas in the Smash Bros. Series.

Alxprit said on Feb. 16, 2009

Glad to finally have some confirmation, although I wasn’t really expecting it from the start.

Poor us…

rayefrenzy said on Feb. 16, 2009

Its sad, really. Its like earthbound was born under an unlucky star and it will forever get screwed over ;-;

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Feb. 16, 2009

Wait, does this apply to MOTHER2 also, or just EB?

VGMaster64 said on Feb. 16, 2009

Crap… I was hoping for some good news too. 🙁

AbstractedThought said on Feb. 16, 2009

Depressing. That’s the only thing I can say. Guess I’ll have to spend those Wii points on something else…

But why isn’t it on the Japanese VC yet? Or has it already but I just haven’t heard about it yet?

Mato said on Feb. 16, 2009

No, it’s not on Japanese Virtual Console, even a year after Smash Bros. came out with the M2 demo. Why it’s not on the Japanese VC is anyone’s guess, it could be related to these same things though, who knows.

Jimmy said on Feb. 16, 2009

thats stupid, why would you release a demo for a game that isnt/wont be released?

DragonKazooie89 said on Feb. 16, 2009

Oh well. Time to being my attention to wanting Mario Parties 1-3, Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2, Bomberman 64, and Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to the Virtual Console.

Mitch said on Feb. 16, 2009

I think it’s hilarious that you can tell who has been in the fandom for a while and who hasn’t. The people getting sad and outraged are new. The ones that have been worn down to surrender are the old ones 😉

MotherFTW said on Feb. 16, 2009


a dude someplace far away said on Feb. 16, 2009

Blah, so what? It’s just a video game.

Not to mention most people on the internet have already played it now.

Jimi said on Feb. 16, 2009

*cries a solitary tear while looking into the rubbish filled wastelands*

madammina said on Feb. 16, 2009

(sigh) I didn’t want to emulate but this may force me to.

I’m mad at Nintendo, but I had heard about the legal issues for a LONG time. It’s a pity.

TheReaper09 said on Feb. 16, 2009

Well I think its safe to say that earthbound wont get a vc release anytime soon,but there is always earthbound for the snes.:]

nmufred said on Feb. 16, 2009

I couldn’t agree more with Mitch. All we can do now is enjoy it through emulation, since Nintendo won’t help us out.

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Feb. 16, 2009

Nintendo transitively encourages emulation.

That was very long-winded.

Darien said on Feb. 16, 2009

It’s entirely sensible for Nintendo to be concerned about things like this. Anybody remember The Verve’s big hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” which came out (coincidentally) near the same time as Earthbound? It contained an uncleared sample from an orchestral version of a Rolling Stones song. As a result, The Verve were taken to court and lost, and the rights to the song were transferred to the Rolling Stones, along with every penny of revenue it had ever generated.

Earthbound contains more than just one uncleared audio sample. And quite a bit more questionable material besides. Back in 1994, Nintendo wasn’t ignoring this issue; Nintendo was in fact having fits about it. Remember when they changed the Runaway Five? And took the crosses off the buildings? And so forth? They were concerned about copyright. It’s very likely that they weren’t aware of the remaining issues — some of them (like a lot of the samples) are just coming to the attention of the fan base now, and it’s reasonable to assume that Nintendo is only just finding out about them also.

Why NCL won’t allow the changes to be made is a different question, and probably relates to the volume of work that would need to be done. I’m not sure how much there is, but we’re not talking about censoring two or three lines of dialogue, here. If it’s a question of rescoring the entire game, well, I can understand why they’re not willing to put in that much work. Especially since you can bet your boots they’re aware that everybody would just complain that we’re not getting the “real” Earthbound anyhow. 😉

EBM said on Feb. 16, 2009

There should be so much sadness in my heart. EB is down the tube, no chance of a MOTHER 3 release, and it seems that the only people who care about us is ourselves.
Oh, well. I guess I’ll just have to go back to my SNES, where EarthBound awaits. Still, I WOULD have purchased AND beat it on VC.
I just love that game… I love it SOOO much!

JoeWuzHere said on Feb. 16, 2009

While I do believe that it will eventually come out on VC, all the more excuse to waste my money on the original box set!

EBP said on Feb. 16, 2009

…They haven’t ruled out Earth Bound Zero now have they?…

NessRules said on Feb. 16, 2009

This is becoming real confusing.
EB was rated 1 on nintendo’s magazine 4 times in a row, and NCJ say:

NOA: We need to change all pop culture references from this game.


It’s only 9/over 100 songs and the ocasionnal band referance. Nobody will know the difference.;)

Poe said on Feb. 16, 2009

NessRules – read the comments here: http://forum.starmen.net/forum/Site/Newsroom/406008611/first

You’ll find your answers.

Satsy said on Feb. 16, 2009

A lot of people are really upset about this, and that’s a shame. A few people are angry about this, and that irritates me. Partly because it shouldn’t be about it not coming out, and also because they seem to direct their anger in the wrong places. This is a greedy, greedy World we live in, and the people who can end the greed are the people who want the money/power/whatever.

I see this as closure. This is IT. This is WHY. It’s not that our efforts were in vain, but the issues weren’t one we could have helped. We all put in to get this to work, INCLUDING NINTENDO. There’s nothing more we can do.

So now we can concentrate our efforts in other ways. We know we’ll never ‘get’ it, but it’s not like Nintendo’s stopped our creative prowess yet; We have M3 translated, and ‘Mato and Jeffman are working on M1, and maybe M2, and I still plan to work on both of those in my own way.

This isn’t the end of the World. This is the start of something new and beautiful.

Hyperstar96 said on Feb. 16, 2009

I guess we can also say goodbye to a Mother compilation on DS too…

Pango.PD said on Feb. 16, 2009

Oh, how unfortunate, but it can’t be helped, it seems. Anyone wants cake?

Teal said on Feb. 16, 2009

My guess would be…that Nintendo doesn’t want to go through the process of making the changes to the game. Doing that would cost them more money, they probably believe that they would be losing money if they did this as it would be expensive (It does seem strange however…EB has such an enormous fan base that is difficult to ignore).
Anyway I’m not going to lose hope that NoA will one day release a compilation. Who knows maybe they were seriously planning to release EB on VC but something came up and decided to work on something else.

person nuber 30 something said on Feb. 16, 2009

i cant believe i cried when i read this

Belasted said on Feb. 16, 2009

Dear Mato,

As someone who has translated Mother titles…

Is the sense of humor in the official translated versions representative of the original Japanese versions? And why, and how, did Shigesato Itoi make these games, as someone who is primarily not a video game designer?

MW said on Feb. 16, 2009

There has to be a loophole somewhere…

Saturnome said on Feb. 16, 2009

Ha, I believe I did cried when EB64 was cancelled, but I was a sensitive young boy back then! Starmen.net was even among the first websites I used to visit.

Now all these usual EB sad news these days are pretty much “meh” but still… I’ll always have faith in what this incredible fanbase can do!

Sandata said on Feb. 16, 2009

The way i see it this is what NoA has to do.

Show the people they think they will get sued from the parts that they believe are ahem ‘rip offs’ from them.

Get a signed piece of paper that states ‘We will not sue Nintendo for releasing this game and they have permission to do so.’

It sounds simple…yes but it would put the FINAL EPIC Nail in the head for Ness if one company said “no we want profits from this game”

The problem is that is a dumb idea and they might not ever do it because…its dumb and waste time with both party’s some how.

…if the game can be released for 2 years they can’t sue it. Earthbound can almost go under the water here…

Really law wise i can’t think of much loophole’s. Also the agreement of “It was released in 1995 and no one complained” is the opposite of Donkey Kong vs MGN King Kong movie. They sued because Donkey Kong was famous. Earthbound back then was int….if it sells like hot cakes the other lawyers eyes will start spinning $_$.

Overall…its that ONE person has to give. One side. I think they can fix the game to remove the references and maybe reuse some music from other places. Or they can just release it as it and get the group ready to go OBJECTION!

Best of luck guys…still a 0.01% chance.

AbstractedThought said on Feb. 16, 2009

I don’t know, Mitch. I’ve been an EarthBound fan for years and I still get sad when I hear news like this. I still remember how I felt when Earthbound 64 was canceled.

But I agree that longtime EB fans are used to disappointment, rejection, etc. It’s just a part of life as a fan, I guess.

Manaphy Fan said on Feb. 17, 2009


Snakerope DX said on Feb. 17, 2009

Wow, way to make a depressing day… I’ve only ever played MOTHER 2 on my Super Famicom which is all I own (and I don’t speak any Japanese), and can’t afford a EarthBound cart/SNES, so I was really looking forward to getting a chance after all these years and finally play it in English… Guess I’ll be waiting for the 1+2 translation now.

Q said on Feb. 17, 2009

It was beginning to look like it was something akin to this. But, short of vast copyright reform that would take out these held copyrights as collateral damage, there’s really nothing we can do about it.

So, what does that make it… PK Siege Congress?

Frank said on Feb. 17, 2009

*sigh* A bit upsetting, but expect. Oh well…
No, we should just all dress up as Ness and siege NOA. Hold them hostage and force them to put out the game.
If we don’t die or get arrested, our names will go down in history~

Dumbo said on Feb. 17, 2009

This isn’t big news to me, as the SNES original never arrived in my country. In fact, many cult classics for older consoles were never released here, so consider yourseves lucky. You can see why emulators are so popular here though! 😛

But, on a serious note, I wouldn’t have minded a port to have made it here, so people I know can play it without the hassle of pirating and playing with an awful keyboard. Oh well, what are you going to do in this world?

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

This is Horrible, Nintendo is a Stinker, Aidan is really upset now, Aidan was looking forward to seeing Earthbound on Virtual Console.

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

Aidan lost faith in Mario and other games because he felt bad for Earthbound and Ice Climber, It pains Aidan to say it but you fans should try harder to get rights of Earthbound from Nintendo so you could do good things with it.

WOOTMAN said on Feb. 17, 2009

copyright is utter bullcrap, bye bye eb on vc

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

Please dont say words like that!

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

Sowwy but you all need to understand like normal growed ups do, Aidan says Eh eh eh! and Fuzzy Pickles too! tee hee!

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

Is it true that Lucas is Ness’s Decendant/Friend?

dk said on Feb. 17, 2009

What a let down that EB is not coming to VC and I been waiting so long for it.

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

Yeah Aidan Knows.

Aidan said on Feb. 17, 2009

Aidan has put his hand in his doggy cup oh he just got his hand out now, anyway it is 1 of the sad days of our sometimes short lives aint it? oh well no matter we can all try harder next time if we try. What do you think Ness?
Ness: Okay!!
There we go then its settled.
Anne:Eh eh ehhhh!
Charlotte: Horray for Earthbound
Vendetta: Earthbound is Stupid
Oh stop it Vendetta!

Satsy said on Feb. 17, 2009

Aidan why on Earth are you spamming this place? And why are you referring to yourself in the third person? I’m quite certain this is not what the comment box is about, so please don’t abuse it.

Smash Bass said on Feb. 18, 2009

Huh. For some reason these news relieve me. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t care about it very much since the beginning. Maybe it’s because we finally know the truth. It’s sad to say it, but I was sure it wasn’t going to happen.

However, I feel deeply sorry for everybody who was hoping for Earthbound to be on the VC. 🙁

Well, I can always expect a re-release in another form in the future. And if that doesn’t even happen, well, it’s not like it’s the end of the world.

Mariorpg said on Feb. 18, 2009

Dam this sucks i was really expecting Earthbound on virtual console, they may let the earthbound series die, well at lease we will remember the 3 games fom mother, i still think there is probaly a chance theres going to be mother 1+2 translated english version, but i still want it on virtual console 🙁

Aidan said on Feb. 19, 2009

Sorry I didn’t mean to.

Aidan said on Feb. 19, 2009

Aidan talks in Third person because he’s a 16 year old who sounds and acts like a child and baby, also he’s autistic. Don’t say anything about Aidan’s age please.

NovaMan XP said on Feb. 19, 2009

Man, this makes me really hate the stupid world we live in, where you can get sued for ANYTHING for having a slight resemblance in it…

… how is anyone being hurt because a video game released 14 YEARS AGO has a few samples/references to some music from OVER 14+ YEARS AGO.

Ugh, enough, I’m playing EarthBound on the Wii via the Homebrew channel, it looks like it wasn’t meant to be.

Sconner said on Feb. 22, 2009


Mato said on Feb. 22, 2009

Uh oh someone’s caps lock cool over here!

Why Animal Crossing can get away with it but not EB is anyone’s guess. Maybe they did pay royalties in advance to whoever owns the rights. Or maybe whoever’s handling EB’s legal stuff is someone different from whoever’s handling Animal Crossing. Or maybe they figure Animal Crossing’s worth the risk. It’s anyone’s guess.

Jona428 said on Feb. 26, 2009

Now i gotta get a super nintendo and earthnound on ebay XD better start saving, who knows, maybe ill find it at the swap meet, that would rock XD mannnn EB furniture in animal crossing would be cool XD

Duh! said on Mar. 11, 2009

earthbound could be injected via homebrew channel so why not just do that?

Claus said on Mar. 15, 2009

I know I’m delayed but I agree with JB2448

PK Scatman said on Apr. 9, 2009

i blame reggie(i think its the guy who made mario games )

An angry kid said on May. 28, 2009

I can sincerely say that the slogan
“This game stinks” ruined this game. Seriously who says that their own game that already wasn’t popular in the ’89 to begin with!

Super Smash Bros. Fan said on Jun. 30, 2009

This news is one of the reasons why the Virtual Console is going downhill in North American. If we can’t have Earthbound on the Virtual Console, then we’ll never see anymore licensing games. If the Virtual Console is ending this generation, all I can say, the service bombed in quality.

This should be simple and easy to release. However, Japanese still haven’t gotten the game. I worry that if Earthbound never see an Virtual Console release, it’ll be the first nail in the coffin for the Virtual Console.

However, we shouldn’t lose all hope. It’s likely that we’ll eventually see it on the Virtual Console. The main reason is because there are no licensing issues surrounding the game, only copyright issues. All Nintendo of America needs to do is go to people where they might have potential copyright issues with and tell them that they want to release Earthbound on the Virtual Console and needs there premission to release it without them sueing them. It maybe diffcult and Nintendo might lose some money, but it’ll be worth it. In fact, it may even save the Virtual Console.

conn3r said on Jan. 26, 2010

eb on vc reminds me of the manga/anime fruits basket

eb = kyo (one of the characters)

as much as kyo (eb) wants to with the others (others = other vc games) he cant because he is the cat and he will never be a zodiac member 🙁

PKLucas0 said on Jan. 29, 2010

aaaaawwwwww*sad face*:(

mr.yoshiboy64 said on Jan. 30, 2010

Aww come on nintendo… I WANT MY EB!

Waterwing said on Feb. 7, 2010

If they got past the copyright issues by going around the original stuff then and no one seemed to care then why not do it again? And what’s wrong with pop culture, Why does Nintendo have to be a pain when it comes to Earthbound?

Ivan E. Garcia Jr. said on Feb. 11, 2010

When I saw that picture, I was very upset. I also told one of my friends that if NOA doesn’t release it on VC, Thousands of EarthBound fans are going to sue NOA!!!

Gabo said on Apr. 8, 2010
neonix said on Apr. 8, 2010

Gabo, you must be new to this community, so I’ll tell you in short, we’ve seen the same situation come and go countless times and you can’t get all hyped up and antsy over a false-heartfelt auto-response email which doesn’t reassure anything.

Gabo said on Apr. 8, 2010

oh, sorry, i was with hopes up right?
i want to know how i can put Earthbound on my Wii now!

Supernova said on Feb. 15, 2011

Well Gabo, you may not be able to put EarthBound on your Wii. But you can get an emulated version for your computer. That’s what I did and I gotta say, it’s not as good as the cartridge game for SNES but it’s good enough.

Anonymous said on Mar. 23, 2011

@Aidan …Aspiephobic. Look up neurodiversity one day.

gg said on Jul. 5, 2011


RadicOmega said on Oct. 26, 2011

Hey guys. if you want to help get EarthBound on VC or make at least make a remake you can email Nintendo hear: http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/webform.jsp or if you want to send them an email go to the “post cards for earthbound” in the related post of this post

Ness said on Nov. 21, 2011

Reggie, you have ticked us off enough. We know where you sleep, and we have an armament of multi-bottle rockets. We will occupy Nintendo of America and FORCE the release of EarthBound on VC.

RadicOmega said on Nov. 21, 2011

@Ness, As long as we “Ocupy” Nintendo we can some how get Reggie to convince his loyers to relese it. We don’t have to MURDER him, and it isn’t intireally his fault.

TomServo said on Dec. 10, 2011

I swear, Reggie NEEDS a bodyguard.

Mikeja78 said on Mar. 16, 2012

After that $7,500, they decide not to release it?!?!
What has gotten into their minds?

zen said on Nov. 25, 2012

Weeeeell the ESRB rating would be E10+ for earthbound 0 and 1 for the stuff I don’t know about but earthbound 2 would be rated T for the cursing

McKnight said on Jan. 13, 2013

Anyone think it might be possible to raise money on Kickstarter (maybe a few billion or so), in order to give Nintendo money to pay lawyers with, in exchange for a VC release, in case any lawsuits actually do come up?

McKnight said on Jan. 19, 2013

Or, better yet, even if it did get a VC release, it would probably be even better if someone fan-translated the ROM version of Mother 2, so that people could play it for what it *really* is.

Sandata said on Jun. 19, 2013

Just to cover the basic fact, yes its comeing out on the Wii U.


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